Fired court deputy alleges Lake County judge serving improperly
BY Teresa Auch Schultz firstname.lastname@example.org February 20, 2013 8:10PM
Updated: March 22, 2013 10:40AM
Lake Station Mayor Keith Soderquist’s stepdaughter is suing City Judge Christopher Anderson, claiming he can’t legally serve as judge because he doesn’t live in Lake Station.
Miranda Brakley’s attorney, Scott King, says in a release that evidence shows Anderson, who first took office in 2008, moved to Hobart before he was re-elected to office in November 2011 and when his new term started in January 2012.
“Thus, when he dismissed our client from her job, he was not nor is he now the judge of the Lake Station court,” King says in the release.
Brakley worked as a deputy for the Lake Station court until June, when Anderson fired her. A report by the State Board of Accounts has since found that Brakley never deposited about $16,000 worth of bond money; she later turned it over in December, claiming it had been sitting in her car without her knowing it.
The State Board of Accounts also found that she improperly received about $13,000 when she was fired in vacation and other leave that she had not earned or was not owed. Along with demanding she pay the money back, the State Board of Accounts also claims she should pay more than $24,000 to the state to cover the cost of its investigation.
King disputed the report when it came out earlier this year.
Brakley’s lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Lake Circuit Court, claims that Anderson illegally fired her because he doesn’t live in Lake Station. It claims that by state law, Anderson must live in Lake Station to serve as its judge.
She also says in her suit that Anderson punished her because he supported Soderquist’s rival, Brian Cretton, in the most recent election for mayor.
She is asking that a judge rule that Anderson is no longer the Lake Station judge, to reinstate her to her position with the city and to award her damages.